It's been a mixed week of news for Manning River Rowing Club.
After officials and members celebrated news the club would receive $600,000 towards the rebuild of the clubhouse, all rowing activities were indefinitely suspended due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
First to the good part.
Last week, the club secured a $350,000 grant from the NSW government's Stronger Country Communities fund and a $250,000 grant from the Roads and Maritime Services' (RMS) Boating Infrastructure Emergency Repair Pool.
We hope to make an icon the people of Taree can be proud of.Tony Beeton, Manning River Rowing Club official
This will be put towards a complete upgrade to the clubhouse. It will include a commercial kitchen, bathroom facilities, a lift and gym.
The existing clubhouse was severely damaged in a ferocious storm in March 2019.
Club official Tony Beeton said the RMS grant will cover boat shed facilities while the community grant will be for the top floor fit-out. Other funds already collected by the club will also be used.
A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to get the rebuild process underway.
"It's been a lot of work, these things don't just happen in a hurry," Mr Beeton said.
Positive vibes surrounding the project emanate through the club.
Members of all ages were consulted at a meeting to determine the future of the clubhouse.
They had to unanimously decide whether to mend the now dated clubhouse or put funding into creating a new facility.
"At that meeting, we had 100 per cent of people saying 'let's go for broke and have a new building'," Mr Beeton said.
"We hope to make an icon the people of Taree can be proud of."
The project is now in the hands of MidCoast Council, with the development application currently on display.
"We'll know soon if there are any changes that need to be made but we hope the community is happy with it," Mr Beeton said.
When the green light is given, they'll be ready.
"We're pretty well ready, we're up to the tender process at the moment," Tony said.
Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead said the state of the art facility will be used by a variety of community members.
"The new-look rowing club has been architecturally designed to attract not just rowers, but wider community participation," Mr Bromhead said.
"The environmentally sensitive design is aesthetically pleasing, maximising views of the majestic Manning River.
"This will attract corporate and social groups to functions, events and small training events as well as major rowing related activities."
A direction from Australian Rowing on March 23 left the club with no choice but to indefinitely suspend all activities.
"We are disappointed," Mr Beeton said.
Restrictions were previously imposed such as members with cold or flu like symptoms were forced to stay away, training was reduced to single scull, boats and oars were washed thoroughly, the Learn to Row program was suspended and club showers were closed.
The club committee will review the situation on a weekly basis.